The film, based on the critically acclaimed book of the same name, is a tender tale of four boys who are rapidly coming to terms with school, bullies, friendship and loyalty. Not to be limited by a poor upbringing, they tap their immense creativity and imagination to create The Order of the Red Dragon, a brotherhood of knights determined to fight injustice with justice. It’s terribly exciting, and life is one big adventure. But when fissures appear in the friendship, their adventure turns dark, and they are forced to face real-world dilemmas and muster all they’ve got to save each other.
Benji the Dove is a unique film focusing on three friends: Jeff, Manny, and Benji and the lessons of chivalry and courage that they learn as they face bullies and the harsh realities of growing up.
The friends spend most of their free time hanging out at the creek and roughhousing each other, but when a teen named Roland moves to the area from Scotland, the boys find a new knight-ish pastime. In his Scottish accent, Roland speaks of knights and of Robert the Bruce, his supposed ancestor. The boys take to him, and soon Roland is teaching them about Scottish history and legends.
Inspired by Scottish bravery and justice, they gather together wooden swords, shields, and costumes and become the “Red Dragons.” Roland knights them all, namely Benji, who is knighted as “Benji the Dove”, Manny as “Manny the Griffin”, and Jeff as “Jeff the Tiger”.
Unfortunately, the bullies of the small town mock them by dressing in black and calling themselves the “Black Feathers”; their goal is to defeat the Red Dragons and to fight against the justice they wish to uphold. For a time, Jeff is drawn away by them and joins the Black Feathers’ side but later realizes the error of his way.
The movie focuses on some harsh realities, including Jeff’s verbally abusive father who smashes a beer bottle on his son’s wooden shield, cutting Jeff. Yet another theme is friendship and how friends are there for one another. While there are good points regarding the movie, it should be noted that some language is used here and there, but not anything strong enough to prevent us from awarding the movie our Dove-approved for Ages 12+ seal.
The Dove Take:
Teenage boys, demented by bullies but inspired by Scottish chivalry, go on heroic adventures to make their community a better place.